Less than a week ago, the lovely Alan Rickman left this dream and entered a new one. At least, that’s how I’d like to think of it. When someone I admire creatively and soulfully passes, I like to think that they’re all in this special cosmic gathering together. (Hola Borges, qué tal Márquez, greetings Maya, howdy Bukowski.)
To be honest, I never hopped on the Harry Potter bandwagon. I know, I know. But I’m just not a fantasy fan–anything remotely sci-fi, magical, or mystical, I just have a hard time connecting to. I like real stories by real people. Not limited to nonfiction or documentary, but stories that are undeniably vulnerable.
One of my favorite quotes that I try to keep in mind is the following by the beloved Alan Rickman:
“It’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.”
I first posted this quote here and included it in my list of slices of wisdom that I live my life by because I was so touched when I first came across it, and still am. Rickman’s observation reminds me that everyone has a story, and anyone who is brave enough and willing enough to share theirs, should. It’s one worth hearing. One worth listening to. One worth telling. One worth bearing. One worth feeling. One worth experiencing. This small but powerful reality has been one of my inner life’s biggest battles: maybe it has to do with age, for me, but so far, I’ve only doubted the value of sharing my stories. This little scrap of paper on the internet has been my first attempt at owning up to that value, and even this, came from a gentle but strong push from a close friend (thank you, I am forever grateful). So, it’s nice to be reminded that stories matter. We need them.
To the alluring, devious, brilliant, profound Alan Rickman. A light has gone out where yours once shone. But your slice of wisdom is one that continues to flicker a flame, a ray of hope, in the hearts of every person who has a story to tell. Forever grateful.
Listen to NPR’s Morning Edition on Rickman’s death, here.